Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Note to self:
When being trounced, don’t frantically try
To even up the score

Resist the rabid impulse to
Make up lost ground
Attack against all odds

Goal one should be
don’t get hit

Punch “reset” and
Renegotiate the terms of
The encounter

Throw up a flurried wall of
Obfuscating action
Sabotage the opposition’s game

Change the rules
Shake her faith
Infect her hand with doubt

Forget victorious
For now, just settle for annoying

If the pace was slow,
Go fast; the distance far,
Stay close

Cultivate a calm and even gaze
Accept that I’m already dead, and
Badger from the grave

When I’ve regained an even keel
Taken back the rhythm
Begun to lead the dance

Then turn the tide
Touch by careful touch—one eye on the clock
An easygoing haste

Now, to ink this on my hand
A cheat sheet when the chips are down…

Saturday, December 25, 2010

What I Learned this Year

Creates negative polarity
In time, it severs
Its own bonds

Is a coin with
Two sides, else it is
Worth nothing

Can live on air
But, unfed, becomes in time
Quite thin

Born of true affection
Blooms in arid wastes, seeks
Nothing in return

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hungry Eyes

I want your lunge
Her lovely feint deception
His facility to flick
Feather light, airing o’er my back

I want your equanimity when
Chasing seven touches, forty seconds left

I want her squirm, displacing target to
An alternate dimension

His ESP intuiting exactly
Where my tip will land

I long to assimilate
The beauteous traits deployed
By my opponents
Ingest them as my own

I want I want I want
Sometimes, to be
Anyone but pedestrian me

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Visit to Rockville Fencing Academy

50 Southlawn Terrace
Midnight, Christmas Eve
Beneath a bright Polaris
All’s quiet on the second floor
(Since, alas, we lost the mouse…)
And peace reigns in the corridor

Down the darkened hall
Beyond the stern, foreboding sign
(“Halt! Past this point, only patrons of the salle”)
A shuffle, giggle, clomping and soft “hush!”
The lock jiggles, pauses, and gives way…
In tumbles a multi-colored and chaotic rush

It’s not just dear Saint Nick, it’s the whole crew
Halfway through their rounds
Their break is overdue
In quest of cookies they’ve set forth
(As Badger Bakery’s rep has spread
From Maryland to All Poles North)

They polish off the platter
(Salty Oat and Chocolate Chip)
Tidy up stray crumbs, begin to chat and natter
They’re almost ready to embark, but lo! Attention strays
To jackets, neatly hung upon the wall
To blades, brightly arrayed

The elves begin to shuffle and postpone,
Glance at the Boss, their eyebrows raised
He sighs, and checks his phone
Mentally parsing flight times to Ukraine
Then shrugs and gestures to the room, and…
Lets chaos reign

The reindeer joust, bellowing and snorting
Up and down the strips
Noses alight with every touch, cavorting
Red Green Red Green Red Green White
The scoring machine reprogrammed
To belt out “Silent Night”

Santa fences epee, relaxing from his toils
A big man bouncing lightly on his toes.
The elves grab thirty-two inch foils
--Jackets coming to their knees,
Masks to their belly buttons--
And demonstrate their expertise

When its time to re-engage his troupe
A thump of the katana and they freeze
Gather up the scattered gear and, lightning, they regroup
Snip! Snap! Slap! Everything is back in place
The foils racked, the jackets clean and pressed
The trash thrown out, each cup and stray shoelace

Lights out, door shut, the racket fades
All’s peaceful, none would ever know
Except…the jumbled stack of broken blades
Neglected by their warder
Are wired, taped and neatly stacked
In perfect working order

With courteous formality
A neatly lettered note
“Thanks for your hospitality”
From distant sky, a jolly voice belts out
“Merry Christmas everyone
And to all, good bouts!”

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I am beset by
Drilled in
Timed to the metronomic beat of

Advance, advance, feint-with-disengage-and-lunge


Perfect in execution but
(Thank heaven)
Flawed in application


Programmed in deft
Sequential acts devoid of
Drilled to inappropriate
Vulnerable to
Improvisation, the

Present a paradigm that
Does not fit their
Program and it
Gums up their gears
Worms its way into their head and
Brings them down

I’ve never been so grateful for my glitches
For my rank and all-too-human quirks that simply don't compute!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Anitya (Impermanence)

I can intend to
I can intend to
Intend to
To keep my limbs
As polished, supple as my

I can’t stop time

Time will heal
And in time
Time will unwind what it has
Knit together

I am

For now, that is enough